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Russia raises eyebrows over N-liability law

December 05, 2010 14:55 IST

After the United States and France, Russia has expressed concern over some clauses of the nuclear liability law, leading to delay in finalising contracts for building two more atomic power plants at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu.

Russia's global nuclear project company Atomstroyexport, which is building two 1000 MW reactors in Kudankulam, said the "complex issues" need to be addressed before firming up contracts for setting up two more atomic power plants.

"This is a very complicated issue. It is not an easy issue from the point of view of its reflection in the contractual document," said Georgy O Kumani, Vice President of Atomstroyexport, a subsidiary of Rosatom, the state-run nuclear corporation.

He was responding to a question on whether his company has any apprehensions about the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage law passed by Parliament earlier this year.

However, Kumani was hopeful of a resolution to the contentious "issues" as both the countries have enjoyed deep cooperation for years.

"We hope it will be resolved. We need to have resolution of the issue soon. We have to find a solution," he said, refusing to elaborate on the issue.

Kumani also refused to answer a question on whether cost of the reactors will increase if the liability component was factored in. "It is too early to speak about financial components".

Certain clauses of the nuclear liability law, which caps compensation to be paid in case of a nuclear accident at Rs 1,500 crore and also channels certain responsibilities to the suppliers of the equipment for the nuclear plant, have been opposed by the US and French companies which feel that the provisions are very stringent.

Kumani said the first unit of Kudankulam nuclear power plant will be operational by early next year as its construction has already been completed.

"I would like to tell you that there are no unsolved problems in the unit which can create stumbling blocks for its operationalisation. We are now carrying out tests to check its readiness," he said.

The second unit of Kudankulam power plant is expected to be made operational within a year of commissioning of unit-1.

Russia and India signed a broad-based agreement late last year to further deepen nuclear cooperation between them under which four new nuclear reactors would be set up by Russia at Kudankulam.

The pact also ensures transfer of technology and uninterrupted uranium fuel supplies to nuclear reactors.

Kumani said Atomstroyexport is also holding negotiations with infrastructure major Larsen and Toubro for setting up of a manufacturing unit for production of equipment required in nuclear plants.

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